WORK will get under way on the £35 million new Boroughmuir High School today when the first turf is cut.
Staff and pupils will mark the occasion during a special ceremony on the former Fountain Brewery grounds between Viewforth and Dundee Street.
The school – less than 500 metres away from the current building – is due to open its doors in August 2016 and will house up to 1165 pupils.
Among its cutting-edge features will be the first rooftop football pitch in Scotland, a multi-functional atrium and classrooms with quick access to collaborative “break-out” spaces.
Pipers and drummers were due to attend this morning’s sod-cutting ceremony, along with city education leader Councillor Paul Godzik and guest of honour, minister for learning Dr Alasdair Allan.
Ahead of the event, Dr Allan praised the ambition shown by those involved in the planning.
He said: “The Scottish Government is committed to delivering high quality, well designed, sustainable schools through the £1.8 billion Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme and I’m pleased we could provide more than £17m funding for this project. I’m particularly impressed by the ambitious plans for this new school and I’m confident it will provide an excellent environment for young people to learn in for generations to come.”
The current Boroughmuir High was founded in 1904 and moved to its current site on Viewforth in 1913.
The 101-year-old building was named by Scottish Government as one of the worst in Scotland in 2010.
Cathal O’Hare, contracts manager for developer O’Hare and McGovern, said the firm was aware of the school’s historic place within the community and aimed to build a “first-class” learning facility.
He said: “This is a massively prestigious project for us and the fact that it’s in Edinburgh makes it extra special.
“We want to provide a building of which staff, pupils and parents can be really proud. The school has had a long and distinguished tradition.
“It is so much part of the area’s social history and we want future generations to benefit from a first class educational facility.”
Other features of the new building include a public park, which will sit on the banks of the Union Canal.
Councillor Godzik, said: “It’s great to see the first phase of construction work starting on the new school as pupils, parents and teachers have been waiting a long time for this special day.
“Today’s event reinforces the Capital Coalition’s commitment to investing in our school estate.
“Boroughmuir has a first-class academic track record, and the focus is now firmly on delivering a new school that provides an equally impressive learning environment.”